Best free basic bank accounts (Fee-free) in the UK 2022

Discover what a basic bank account is and how they compare to other types of bank accounts.

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Basic bank accounts help those with poor credit scores get a bank account. Basic bank accounts are what they say they are. They come with no strings attached, frills or anything else you would associate with a standard current account. You put your money in and you take it out. They are often fee-free.

Latest reviews of basic bank accounts

Halifax - Basic Account

Basic Account
Finder rating
★★★★★
Customer rating
★★★★★
Read review

£0

Min. opening balance

£0

Account fees

0% AER

Interest (AER)

Cashback Extras - Earn up to 15% cashback from selected retailers when shopping with a Halifax credit or debit card.
Whether you’ve experienced bankruptcy, you’re in financial difficulty or you have no credit history, the Halifax basic bank account could help. The account offers free everyday banking and no monthly maintenance fee and it comes with a contactless Visa debit card for all your spending requirements. You can manage your account online, on your mobile, over the phone and in branch, with 24 hour access. What's more, unlike many basic accounts, you can even take advantage of features such as Cashback Extras, allowing you to earn up to 15% cashback at certain high street brands. The account’s Save the Change feature will also round up your spending to the nearest pound and transfer the difference into your nominated Halifax savings account. There is no arranged overdraft on the account and there is no cheque book available either.
  • No monthly fee
  • Multiple ways to bank
  • Access to Cashback Extras and Save the Change features
  • No overdraft facility
  • No monthly cash reward
Interest rate 0% AER
Minimum opening balance £0
Minimum operating balance £0
Switch service guarantee Yes
Account fee £0
Overseas card transactions 2.99%
Overseas cash withdrawals 2.99%

HSBC - Basic Bank Account

Basic Bank Account
Finder rating
★★★★★
Customer rating
★★★★★
Read review

£0.01

Min. opening balance

£0

Account fees

0% AER

Interest (AER)

This is a day-to-day basic bank account designed for those with a poor credit history or those having financial difficulties. There is no monthly fee for the account and it enables users to set up direct debits and standing orders, send money to friends and family and make payments using the contactless Visa debit card that comes with the account. You can also use your card for cash withdrawals and withdraw up to £300 per day. You can manage your money online, via your mobile or over the phone 24/7. To apply for the account you will need to be aged 16 or over and a UK or EU resident. Be aware there is no overdraft facility on the account but you will still need to be credit checked.
  • No monthly fee
  • Multiple ways to bank
  • Free everyday banking transactions
  • No overdraft facility
  • Limited account features and benefits
Interest rate 0% AER
Minimum opening balance £0.01
Minimum operating balance £0.01
Switch service guarantee Yes
Account fee £0
Overseas card transactions 2.75%
Overseas cash withdrawals 2.75%

Nationwide BS - FlexBasic

FlexBasic
Finder rating
★★★★★
Customer rating
★★★★★
Read review

£1

Min. opening balance

£0

Account fees

0% AER

Interest (AER)

If you don’t hold another bank account and you’re struggling to get accepted for one, the Nationwide FlexBasic account could be the answer. To qualify for the account, you will need to be at least 18 years old and a UK resident. There is no monthly fee to pay and you can manage your money online, over the phone, in branch or via the app. The app can help you view and search your transactions, freeze and unfreeze your debit card or report your card as lost or stolen. As well as your contactless debit card, you can use Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Paym to make purchases. As is standard with a basic bank account, there is no overdraft facility, no cheque book and no interest paid on credit balances. Accounts can be opened on an individual basis or jointly.
  • No monthly fee
  • Multiple ways to bank
  • Easy to track your spending via the app
  • No overdraft facility
  • Limited account features
Interest rate 0% AER
Minimum opening balance £1
Minimum operating balance £0
Switch service guarantee Yes
Account fee £0
Overseas card transactions 2.99%
Overseas cash withdrawals 2.99%

Metro Bank - Cash Account

Cash Account
Finder rating
★★★★★
Customer rating
★★★★★
Read review

£0

Min. opening balance

£0

Account fees

0% AER

Interest (AER)

You can open this account from Metro Bank if you’re aged 11 or older and a UK resident. You’ll need to provide proof of identity and proof of address. You can open your account instantly at your local branch and your bank card will be printed there and then. There are no monthly fees on the account but keep in mind the account offers limited features. For example, there is no overdraft facility and you won’t be able to set up direct debits (standing orders can be set up if you’re aged 16 or over). Your card also can’t be used outside the UK except where the Link logo is displayed on a cash machine - for example, in France, Gibraltar, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. Payments can be made over the phone, in a branch, via internet banking or via the app.
  • Can open your account instantly in branch
  • No monthly fee
  • Open account from the age of 11
  • Limited account features
  • Restrictions on bank card usage
  • No overdraft facility
Interest rate 0% AER
Minimum opening balance £0
Minimum operating balance £0
Switch service guarantee No
Account fee £0
Overseas cash withdrawals 2.99%

The Co-operative Bank - Cashminder

£0

Min. opening balance

£0

Account fees

0% AER

Interest (AER)

This account from the Co-op is aimed at those with no credit history or a low credit score, including those who have experienced bankruptcy. To qualify for the account you must be at least 16 years old and a UK resident. Applying should only take around 10 minutes and no credit check will be carried out. Once accepted, you’ll receive a Visa debit card which you can use to make payments, along with Apple Pay, Google Play and Samsung Pay. There are no charges for opening the account and you’ll be able to manage it online and via the app. The account is available as both a joint account and an individual account. Be aware there is no overdraft facility or cheque book available. There will also be fees for using your debit card abroad, as well as for electronic payments such as CHAPs and for other services such as copies of your statement.
  • No credit check carried out
  • Manage your account online or via the app
  • No monthly fee
  • Pay using your debit card, Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay
  • No overdraft facility
  • Limited features on account
  • Fees for certain services
Interest rate 0% AER
Minimum opening balance £0
Minimum operating balance £0
Switch service guarantee Yes
Account fee £0
Overseas card transactions 2.75%
Overseas cash withdrawals 2.75%

Compare basic bank accounts

Table: sorted by interest rate, promoted deals first
1 - 5 of 15
Name Product Ratings Account fees Funding requirement Interest (AER) Arranged overdraft Incentive Representative example Link
Cashminder
Not yet rated
£0
No minimum funding requirement
0% AER

Current account switch service guarantee badge
View details
Cash Account
Finder score
★★★★★
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
£0
No minimum funding requirement
0% AER

View details
Basic Cash Account
Not yet rated
£0
No minimum funding requirement
0% AER

Current account switch service guarantee badge
View details
FlexBasic
Finder score
★★★★★
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
£0
No minimum funding requirement
0% AER

Current account switch service guarantee badge
View details
Foundation
Finder score
★★★★★
★★★★★
User survey
★★★★★
★★★★★
£0
No minimum funding requirement
0% AER

Free 24/7 Emergency Cash Service to withdraw up to £300 for online and telephone banking customers or £60 if not.
Current account switch service guarantee badge
View details
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What is a basic bank account?

Basic bank accounts are stripped-back accounts with fewer features – most notably without an overdraft facility. These accounts are made available to customers with poor credit scores. In fact, they’re typically available without the need for a credit search. You can check your own credit score here.

With these accounts, you will still be able to set up direct debits and standing orders. In most cases, you’ll also be given a debit card and access to online and telephone banking.

There are no monthly fees with these accounts. However, you shouldn’t expect to earn interest on credit balances or receive an overdraft. Additionally, perks like cashback are much rarer (although not unheard of) on Basic accounts.

Who can open a basic bank account?

The main selling point of basic bank accounts is that they have wider eligibility criteria. If you are a UK resident, you should be able to open one of these accounts. Learn more about opening a bank account as a non-UK resident.

Requirements to open a basic bank account

In most cases, you can open a basic bank account with proof of ID and proof of address. You’ll need to be at least 16 years old. Read our guides to find out more about opening an account if you do not have proof of ID or proof of address.

In some cases, you won’t need to pass a credit check to open an account. Even if you do, those with low credit scores are still likely to pass.

How to manage a basic bank account

Most basic bank accounts come with a debit card and online banking, just like regular bank accounts.

Alternatives to basic bank accounts

If you’re looking for a simple way to open a bank account, but with more flexibility in managing your money, you may want to consider opening an account with a digital-only challenger bank.

You could try a digital bank like Starling Bank or Revolut. The application process can be completed by downloading the respective app, making it quick and hassle-free, and you may not need to undergo a credit check for a simple account without an overdraft facility.

Like a high-street bank, some of these online-only banks offer Financial Services Compensation Scheme protection, meaning that if the bank ever hits financial trouble, your deposits will be protected by the government up to an £85,000 limit.

With Starling Bank, you can choose from a personal account that charges no fees for overseas ATM withdrawals or transactions and offers some in-credit interest. With Revolut, as well as all the regular functions of a basic current account, you have the flexibility to transfer money abroad in more than 30 currencies with the interbank exchange rate and its multi-currency card lets you hold up to 30 currencies at a time.

While these banks don’t have physical branches, you can manage your account via the bank’s smartphone app, using live chat messages and in some cases telephone services. It’s also worth noting that Starling Bank allows its personal account customers to deposit money via the Post Office network.

There are also UK banking providers who specialise in offering personal accounts that you can open without a credit check, such as Cashplus and thinkmoney though these accounts come with a fee.

Pros and cons of Basic Bank Accounts

Pros

  • Relaxed eligibility criteria.
  • Debit cards and online banking are usually available.

Cons

  • All features and perks are stripped back.

The bottom line

Basic bank accounts are not as good as regular bank accounts. However, these can be a life-saver for those who get rejected for any other type of account due to a poor credit score.

Once you have started to fix your credit score, it is recommended to switch from a basic account to a regular bank account, so you can take advantage of the extra features available.

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